Challenge outfits, dress up for empowerment

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“You can’t wear shorts, mom,” said my teenage son rolling his eyes, “please!!”

That was 14 years ago. I didn’t. Last week they became my challenge outfit. I went to TopShop. I tried. I loved. I bought. HOT PANTS. Those tiny things I wore in the seventies.

I took a deep, deep breath and wore them on the streets of LA a week ago. My 28 year old son applauded me from the depths of his Millennial cool.

“Hot pants” are one of my challenge outfits as it pokes my worry of being “too much, too loud, too silly” and going deeper it is my fear of being judged an “easy woman”, in my medieval memories I was burnt on a stake as the wild and free “la putain”.

“Dolls Kill” , the teenie bopper store for “Misfits and Miss Legits”, provided the cute sheer top.

“Dolls Kill”, the teenie bopper store for “Misfits and Miss Legits”, provided the cute sheer top.

Of course this moment of empowerment has a story.

It started with “Look at us.”

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For our afternoon meet in a Pasadena cafe Barbara Holmes and Loretta Sayers both coincidentally dressed in comfy plaid. I came in a pink jumpsuit. “Sure, you did.” We laughed. Barbara pointed under the table, where even our sneakers told the same story; comfy, comfy, trendy and not so comfy.

“Let’s play dressing you up, ladies”

After my yearlong, sometimes careful and other times over the top outfit journey it was time to be a siren and call others to the stage.

“ReBelle your authentic inner beauty.”

“How?” asked my friend Barbara who is known as Barbie.

“We are like like scientists; we experiment,” I answered.

“Let’s ReBelle Barbie.

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We did. We evoked our inner tomboys with bib overalls. We slipped into long coats and played the Matrix, “We know Kung Fu.” I convinced Barbie to try a jumpsuit, (see below) which women often feel they shouldn’t do or can’t fit in. I love the jumpsuit’s Barbarella power and feel that every woman should have one. I want to own 365 one day:)

We successfully re-belled Barbie, her inner child loved to play and her feminine power was high lighted. Both of us had a blast.

That’s when I got the idea of challenge outfits.

I went on a hunt, let my intuition take over and mailed Loretta her challenge; a trendy metallic pencil skirt.

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Loretta says, “At first I felt awkward.. But within minutes I felt empowered. I started to think that just maybe I could pull this off. I felt pretty yet powerful. After texting Angie a photo, we chatted for a bit and she helped me come up with this: I felt like a Goddess rising from the ashes of a ruined castle. “ The outfit inspired Loretta to the beautiful ruins of Knapps Castle.
”Boom! 💥” she wrote.

Outfits are feelings. On my designer hunting trip through LA I discovered a piece for hiking girl Patrice.

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Patrice says on her blog, “my style is usually more on the conservative side,  my idea of being rebellious is wearing red or a statement piece of jewelry… Angie… sent me something that would blend a “little sexiness with my healthy hiking style.” Her exact words. The moment my jacket arrived, I almost screamed with joy.  It was so pretty, so interesting and somehow, so me!  That is what good stylists do, they help you express  yourself in unexpected ways. Angie thank you for helping me find my “inner rebel”  I will be allowing this side of me to come out more often!”

Boom No 2 and 3💥

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Outfits talk.

Outfits aren’t just something we throw on to hide or to impress, they can be the best sidekicks to discovering stories about ourselves we might have forgotten or did not dare to look at, and they’re always empowering when we play. They are mother’s little helper to crack the style box or mindset we might not be so happily stuck in after all.

#metoo, said my next “power girl to be” using the formerly dark and depressing hashtag in a newly transformed empowering way. The journey with Rebecca from “Are you ready to organize” has begun. She mixes and matches women and junior sizes from 4 - 10 to fit her body shape perfectly. As a fashionista I dreamt of the easy way out; can I please be a size Zero, be skinny and wear everything? But then, where’s the creative fun in that? As a teenager I popped pills to stay under 100 pounds. In my 50’s being a size 6 going up to size 8 I stopped buying clothes, which made me so unhappy that I stopped eating or having champagne after my stressful job. Just saying; I come from a lifelong fight with body issues and self acceptance. Today I swagger between 2 and 4 and have the mix and match, improvising and innovating fun I loved all my life. I am happy when I can create.

To accept and love challenges means to be in for personal expansion. “We don’t groe old, we grow,” I wrote three years ago when the Ageless Rebellion started.

On my journey to find tops for busty women I got into plus sizes. After scrolling through the first ten online stores my rebel was awakened. Where are sizes 10 and up in the sexy, trendy-cool sections? What the heck is this need to call women over 50 and over size 8 “MATURE” and make them hide their assets? Come back to read the story.

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Some women say life begins at 50. I’m a late boomer, I “woke late” to be my inner hurricane; I started to write my new story at 60.

Outfits truly were my sword swinging sidekick on the road to ageless.

Let’s play dress up, ladies; get your challenge outfits.

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The age of empowerment fashion

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“Would you like to dance with me?”

I put my Tequila shot down. I was a country dance newbie and being asked by the maestro of the two-step scene of Santa Fe evoked goose bumps.

“I am honored”, I answered smiling brightly. It was the 90’s and I studied art therapy at the South Western College, a program based on the amazing work of Carl Jung; life changing in its vibrant archetypal approach. I slid off the bar stool and my Harley Davidson cowgirl boots hit the polished floor with a metallic “clack”. “You can do this,” they said. I had learned that things can be imbued with thoughts of strength and resolve. Cowgirl boots were my “power objects”.

I love to look back at my life and discover foreshadowing of the finest; fashion had weaved itself into my life like a repeated reminder of where I was going even when I built houses for a living. It’s two decades after finding courage in cowgirl boots and I am a style coach using outfits for clarity and empowerment.

We wear our soul on our sleeves
A.W.

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The Ageless Rebellion started three years ago with WE WEAR WHAT WE WANT and say what we feel. Now woman power has landed on designer’s desks with more than a little metallic “clack”; it’s a closer to a revolution. If we use it as such.

Fashion is born in our Zeitgeist.

Women marches and hastags like “Metoo #enoughisenough and #womenpower have saturated the air we breathe and changed the outfit climate. Vegan fashion week and Fashion Revolution Week hopefully can help reduce the threat of climate change before it’s too late.

Designers have called 2019 the year of fashion empowerment.

For decades the industry was a dictatorship for many women or, on the other end, caused resistance and fights against it. Today our demands have changed fashion into a democracy. Designers like Nili Lotan even use the “right to choose” as theme of their collection; she creates “separates” with the call to “make your own outfit."

"I really do design for myself," said Nili in an interview with W. She is 59 and doesn’t only own her storefront on Duane Street and studio space on Walker in NYC’s Tribeca but her place in the industry. "I’m a real woman: I have kids, I have a husband, I travel, I work, I entertain—I do all the things we all do. My clothes are the answer to my life, and I think that's why so many women see them as the answer, too.”

Hastag #authentic has 9.2 million followers

If ever a designer was made for the #MeToo moment it would be Miuccia Prada, a woman who has spent her career exploring the shifting, often uncomfortable, balance between femininity and force. Or, as she put it: “The whole point of my job is trying to understand how women can be powerful but also feminine, and be believed and stay respected when everyone assumes those things mean you don’t care about clothes.”

Messages from deep thoughts, 528HZ is the sound frequency of love, to in-your-face calls to action were recently put on a pedestal by Victor&Rolf’s fantastic theatrical dresses.

Messages from deep thoughts, 528HZ is the sound frequency of love, to in-your-face calls to action were recently put on a pedestal by Victor&Rolf’s fantastic theatrical dresses.

Women’s liberation is everywhere, expressed in Pantone Colors, which are decidedly optimistic, vibrant or peace evoking, in combat boots, sexy warrioress faux leather, scandalous vinyl or slogan T-shirts with female empowerment messages. They are everywhere now from the “We Should All be Feminists” T-Shirt on the catwalk at Christian Dior to the myriad versions sold for International Women’s Day. Christopher Kane has always harnessed a lot of criticism for feminist “propaganda” and designers like Christian Siriano, Chromat, Eckhaus Latta, and Gypsy Sport also go further than their seams by sending a variety of body types down the runway, while PH5, Creatures of Comfort, and Kes all included “real” women in their shows.

The very slowly accepted plethora of body types, all ages and races and their manifestation in styles as different as Mars and Venus is a testament to our need for tolerance of our differences.

It is a democratic treasure chest; slip into an uber feminine Zac Posen and wear it with Dior’s 60’s protest sign clothing, wear combat boots with bonbon colors and ruffles, high heels with work woman overalls and glam in sequins in the day time. Layer like the multi level personality you are and let your outfits do the talking. Wear rubber boots with drawstring nylon tops, fishnet tops under massive pleather coats with faux-fur cuffs, frivolous bustiers under shy sheer cream colors, let fringing fiercely swing into your day and metal colors make you feel strong. Let your curious inner child play with bows and bio degradable plastic. Use tulle under or over, sheer or embellished with jewels or flowers.

Pull yourself out of the rut with pulling your neckline off-center.

Be brave. Whatever that means to you.

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The industry hits the jack pot by using our zooming in on our hastags and using buzzwords to sell their collections but then, even if some designers only “mean it” commercially it is our responsibility to use these trends as our mantras and statements.

Womanhood is a gift, a privilege and a pleasure. To know and believe that is power and comes with the responsibility to make it so for all of us.

Courage to me is to be authentic and real. To discover “me” and own me. It took me three years from the moment I used the slogan “be a badass at any age” to today where I finally know what that really means. Woke to me means to step into our slogans and into outfits that mean it and mean ME.

How we relate to our outfits is deeply personal and that’s where it starts; make it PERSONAL, really personal.

What empowers me might not empower you.

It is your journey towards your power that counts.

What does this matter to me?

When you dress up ask with Marie Kondo “Does this bring me love?” and with me “what does this matter to me?” Does this resonate with my heart? My soul? My mood? Does it express the power I need today? Vibe the frequency of people I want to meet? Does this shout or whisper my message?

I love to see the beauty in empowerment fashion but worldwide women power is far from reality. The democracy of fashion is in her baby shoes; our task is to push it further, wider and give every woman her power objects until we all believe that we ARE power.

We have to stop running to authority and let big institutions decide for us; it has not brought us far, better it is bringing us to the moment of extinction. When we let our peers teach, motivate and inspire us, when we listen to the voices next to us, buy from our friends and not billionaire’s owning the world we have a chance to make this a world for the people.

Join me in telling fashion stories that empower creating real democracy in real life.

#womeninspiringwomen

Athleisure, sequins, transparent fabrics, feathers, bold pop colors, combat boots, faux leather, over the knee boots and the easy version of message tees… come back to my empowering fashion pics.
”Ruffle it” is next.

Ageless Rebel in the Forever Fierce Revolution

When you own the power of truth…

When you own the power of truth…

“A rebel is anger on steroids,” said my college friend Dieter. He should know, I thought. He had been the feisty singer of a punk band in what he describes as an “NYC ghetto” at a time when Patti Smith, David Bowie and Lou Reed climbed to fame.

Against his warning I still named my movement “The Ageless Rebellion”, this was three years ago. I was proud to be a rebel, always fought against political or social imbalance, for the underdog, women’s rights or acted against the attacks on our environment. “There’s this other women group,” I told him, “the “Forever Fierce Revolution”, they have revolution in their name also.”

“I have the right to be angry,” I thought, “there’s so much in this world to be upset about.”

I was angry with anything unfair because my life had been unfair; I was “just a girl” and as such too sensitive. As a misguided tomboy I was too loud; I was simply too much, not worthy to be loved. Writing the story of my decades of rebellions I saw how I had fiercely and mostly successfully fought for my right to be as creative as artists and as powerful as business men, but that in my fights were the tears of an angry child feeling abandoned and powerless. Anger is born in disappointment and sadness; when I entered that part of my truth my world began to change. I sat in it. I cried.

Anger becomes enlightening when we make it a journey, a starting point not a status.

“Transform your crap into gold” was my “I show you, world” motto.

Self love had been a unknown mystery to me. My life coach made me dig for it; I needed not just a shovel but an ice pick. The moment I told my mirror image “I love you” without a sarcastic grin was magical awakening to the deeper levels of me. I now had the power to go back to the beginning; to my dreams, my innocence, my childlike curiosity and passionate love for life. I had the power to change. Not the world outside of me but my thoughts, my feelings; my story. Every tantrum and every one of my fights held a pearl of wisdom; what I truly longed for. My No contained the hidden story of my yes.

“ReBelles,” I wrote in my group, “let’s re-claim our true inner and outer beauty.”

I now used the power of No as a tool to eliminate what hindered me to manifest ME, to be present in my “real”. I finally entered what I had called “ageless” as my answer to ageism. “There is no age.” The full meaning of ageless though revealed itself in my journey; it is the sacred space where time does not exist, where we are pure essence and see the world without preconceived notions.

When we’re not trained like Eckhard Tolle though we usually don’t stay in the “present” for too long, we’re in and out and each time we’re “in” we get another glimpse of who we truly are like gifts from our inner goddesses.

To be authentic isn’t done by saying so, it is a journey with hick ups and ripping bandages off with whimpers or screams.

Writing the memoir of my rebellions I had watched the movie of my life and how the different voices inside of me had manifested in my outside world; my judgements and doubts but also my power and compassion and my search for love. I was deeply touched by what I had not noticed before; that life had always been on my side and my own beliefs let me reject it. I would go back to the beginning; to be childlike and trusting. A rebel for a wonderful world where women virtues rule and the planet is safe from greed…

“Seriously?” asked my inner critic rolling his eyes.

“What’s with that silly dream to be 16 again?” a woman I hoped to be friends with asked. “Why the heck are you so childish? And why would you want to change the world? That’s really stupid.”

Watch out, babes. On the path to our inner freedom we get tested; do you still believe that “you’re not okay the way you are, dear” ?

I finally said NO. I left the stage of guilt and fear.

NO is power when we become rebels for the truth of us. Anger is healthy when it is transformed into awareness of what we really want and make it happen.

Anger is the fire that burns the bullshit we have let ourselves accept and believe; all what’s left in the ashes is the magical dragon of our truth.

In my social media journeys I discovered that as much as I theoretically had disliked comparison and competition I compared myself to others; I was either better or less. I became a watch dog of my jealousies and entitlements; I was to own what really mattered to me, to walk my talk and step into the shoes of my fearless Instagram avatar. Not only that; on my fashion therapy adventures I literally stepped into the mindset of styles; I got to be the hippie, the goddess, the yuppie, the boss babe or sexy Barbie. I got to understand and appreciate more facets of the female mindset every day.

Repetition is a master of change; when we love who we are we love the women around us as equals, every day a little more.

Three years ago my FB group, Ageless Rebel, had been an initiative of “me against ageism”. The Forever Fierce group was a team creation of fifty fierce female bloggers making the world prettier, friendlier, happier. I liked their women virtues but I was “different” than them. I was a rebel, my movement gave aging the finger. They weren’t rebellious enough. They were much too nice for my taste. Nice made me suspicious.. Why did they call me darling?

Meeting 80 of them in real life last October was a revelation; some of the women had the same fears entering the conference as me and many of them really meant their hugs. I felt my doubts, suspicion and judgments shrinking. I wasn’t as “pink” as them was I?

Unconditional women communities celebrate our uniqueness, I stated, feeling “different” though was separation.

On outings with my new and re-discovered “old” women friends in LA, with Barbie, Loretta, Mindy, Teresa, Elizabeth, Rita, Rosanne… we played dress up and got to be 16 again, spun stories, made plans or traveled into the myths of our past. I listened. I asked. I saw them without the filter of needs or wants. They reciprocated but seeing me and not only that they asked me to be who I was. My childlike enthusiasm as much as my fierce Rebelle power were encouraged not condemned. I was inspiring others, how amazing was that.

In the middle of February, right after the official love day of Valentine’s 2019, I playfully and effortlessly fessed up to one of my secrets in a live conversation broadcast to the 6000 member strong group Forever Fierce group.

“I wasn’t this nice before I met you girls…” The group had helped me to re-discover the sweet girl who allows herself to love pink. Thank you. What a relief when you can say thank you from your heart.

Freedom is not to have agendas.

The sweetness of others can wear you down. I couldn’t stop smiling; I had arrived. I felt liberated from my inner bullies. All what was left in the ashes of my past at this moment was the magical dragon of MY truth. I met women’s eyes thinking; I see you, I love you. I meant it.

I am what I see in others.

Self love gives us permission to be everything we are; even the parts of our past we wanna kick to the curb. It’s our journey that made us and the journey wants to be embraced like everything and everybody else.

Love is our medicine; kindness is an alchemical potion.

Please go ahead; call me darling and tell everybody that you love them even if you only mean it a little bit. Being kind to somebody today might change their world.

“Joy is contagious”, commented my friend Sophie Davis. “That’s it right there,” I responded. “A new kind of rebellion.”

I remembered a quote I had made up last year.

In a society ruled by fear and anger every conscious smile is a rebellion

I am a pink rebel in a pink revolution. What better than to be warrioresses for love, together.

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Squats with hand bags. Styling Journeys from the Soul.

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“I’d love a little adventure,” Barbie said to my idea of finding a challenging outfit that would disrupt and uplift her style.

I decided on two outfits that wouldn’t push her to the edge but just with little extra that opens doors not scare the heck out of her. The first, a black Zara jumpsuit, a versatile piece that could be sassy or fun depending on the accessories was a success as most women think that jumpsuits wouldn’t fit their body shape or are too 70’s or too millennial. But what really hit our first jack pot was her leopard overall.

My motto was PLAY.

Who’s reading my blogs knows that I am a fan of Baudelaire’s philosophy of child play; to be fully immersed in the moment with all the openness and intensity a child can have.

To match the theme I got into one of my own overalls and because we wanted to evoke the inner girly girls we added pink accessories.

“Really?” smirked our little ones and after a short warm up period they went for it, we laughed and danced and did squats with handbags - on Sunset Boulevard.

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We met at “Dinosaur Cafe” in Hollywood, a lively cafe for creatives and a name that fit; most kids love the magic of Dinosaurs.

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What often happens to me; when in a space of non-judgmental freedom other ideas fly in, I call it “the universe talks to me.”

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Both of us had brought a long coat by “accident”, coats that didn’t have the vibe of child play at all. Slipping into our coats transported us into the Matrix, avoiding flying bullets with our smooth moves.

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Both of us had studied Kung Fu in our past. One of the women I would like to embody is Sarah Connor from the Terminator; the metaphor of the sassy warrioress has been with me since decades; I always felt I came from the future on a mission to save the world.

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We entered the creative space of outfit inspiration by being in the moment of high school girl friends but our feminine power lifted her fist; babes, you’re also magical and strong. I always loved the quote from Buffy, the Vampire Slayer; the girly thing to do is “to date and shop and hang out and go to school and save the world from unspeakable evil.”

Outfits are so much more than trends or decor, they can be like meditation; a path to our deeper knowing and an amazing practice of “letting go what we think we know”. What could be more fun than dress up to get to know new shades of ourselves , even our magic?

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The power of outfits is to guide us inside but also into the outside world; where would an overall bring you to? Who would “see you” and resonate with you?

Do we see new aspects of the world in different, and for us unusual outfits?

Come back for some fun with our next journeys…

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Check out this look from LIKEtoKNOW.it http://liketk.it/2zUrP
Download the LIKEtoKNOW.it app to Shop Your Screenshots™

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9 tips on comfort in sexy heels

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They called me a gazelle in my early thirties as I climbed over the rubble of the construction sites I managed in high heels. I had a dozen pairs of the same brand in all available colors; they had to be repaired or substituted rather often. I was obsessed with two power objects; my heels and my lipstick. “I’m not going out without them!”

I am still a lipstick lover and own the coolest heels; they are so pretty for photo shoots. Walking in them for longer than an hour though often feels like a torture trip .

Talking to a friend of mine who is a shoe designer for several big brands, he told me not only about the fierce and sometimes brutal competition behind the scenes but also that most designers don’t care much about about how comfy the shoes are; if they look hot they’re fine.

“If you want to be beautiful you’ll have to suffer,” my mom always said.

No, thanks.

I could go through a feminist list of why not to buy into heels but heck, I love them. Perhaps I am brainwashed or it’s ingrained into my genes but sometimes a woman just has to do what she wants even against her lofty theories of empowerment.

Heels make me FEEL empowered and isn’t mindset everything? I love power objects as my psychological sassy crutch.

As I can’t can’t live without ’em how can I live with them without pain?

1. Educate Yourself on Your Foot Type

I have never been to a podiatrist to understand my foot type, I have a regular arched foot. But checking how high arched or flat your foot helps with adding insoles. In my area the CVS pharmacies have DR. SCHOLL’S CUSTOM FIT KIOSK LOCATOR where you can get the perfect insoles.

2. Use insoles

Get your insoles, DR. SCHOLL’S actually really works in my experience, the company exists since decades and I trust their experience. They have all kinds of help from a moleskin, a soft cotton flannel insert with adhesive backing to gel heel liners. Ball of the foot pads for example are oval-shaped pads that go under the ball of the foot, usually made from a silicone gel. They hold your foot more steady in the shoe, prevent sliding forward, stabilize your stride and protect your toes from blisters.

Some women use sandpaper to stop their feet form sliding. Looks like a great emergency measure when insoles or “foot petals tip toes” aren’t readily available

3. Opt for Platform Soles

A thicker sole offsets some of the pressure when you’re walking. My heels with thick and rubbery soles are close to comfy.

4. Avoid stilettos, go for a chunkier heel style

I love booties and boots, which gets me to point 5

5. Go for top coverage

The more coverage you have on the top of your foot, the better. Boots are perfect. Ankle straps or big wide straps help when you wear summer heels.

6. Take breaks and stretch your feet

7. Break your new shoes in with a hair dryer

Wear your new shoes in the house with socks, and apply heat with a blow dryer to loosen up tight spots.

8. Use the magic of tape

Tape is a magical helper in many clothing emergencies. Taping your third and fourth toes (counting from the big toe) is supposed to help as there is a nerve between those two, which causes pain when pressure is put on it. Not tested by me.

9. Try wedges.

There are sassy looking ones out there and they’re comfy.

Already Blistered?

Keep your bliss using Band Aid blister healing pads

What’s your experience with heels? Do you have trick that work for you?

Happy balancing.

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Check on Harper’s Bazaar’s cool show stories.

On a side note; my blog on “how to make trends work” for empowerment mentioned that we are part of the trends; they’re not created for us but with our thoughts, desires and lifestyles, they follow our evolution.

See the trend of chunky punk work boots; they are a perfect answer to and expression of women marches and women power.



What can trends do for us?

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“Why is everybody staring at me?” my friend panicked when walking through a luxurious hotel lobby in Los Angeles. Half of the women on our meet up were fashion fabulous. “Gawd. It’s because my pants are from last year,” she answered herself.

“You look great”, I countered, “ don’t be a slave to trends.”

“Snake pants are out,” she shivered in her realization that she had not paid attention.

“Your pants express who you are, don’t they?” I asked but she didn’t feel it, her decision in the morning had been “ so stupid.”

“Why do I act careless like this?” she questioned her choice and every careless decision in her entire life right after.

“We are midlife power chicks.” I tried to make it better and added firmly that,“we should be over this and be confident no matter what…”

“Words,” she grinned sarcastically knowing my mirror obsessions.

I wore black jeans, a silver shirt, a black, loose fitting blazer and classy Jeffrey Campbell boots; I was trend-washed. As I always have extra clothes flying around in my car, changing into straightforward Free People jeans calmed my friend’s mood.

Outfits had empowered or depressed me depending on the phase of life I was in. At this time I was in one of my rebel modes and into wear what you want, be who you are. “Be a badass at any age,” was my website slogan. I would not conform to another person's idea of what is socially acceptable. We shouldn't lose our identity whenever a new style hits the market.

What do we hold against commercial trends?

1.     “Conformity; everybody wears the same.” Boring.

2.     “Must have brand new outfits every season.” Eco-unfriendly, consumerist.

3.     “Needing to follow trends empties your bank account.” Dangerous.

4.     “Trends are to impress others.” Narcissistic. Weak.

5.     “Trends are about designers not about us.” We are following somebody’s idea of what’s cool. Who wants to be a sheep?

6.     “The fashion industry is a scary often unethical business with unsustainable practices and a manipulative gang of marketers.” Revolution needed.

7.     “Trends create judgmental eye rolling fashionistas.” That hurts.

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Two years later, after my memoir writing journey followed by a therapy-style fashion adventure through many different outfits it dawned on me that my “rebel style” wasn’t that revolutionary, it had become limiting. I was safe in my black box and it was easy to throw stones from there. New styles had opened me up to different feelings and levels of myself and other women.

I browsed Glamour, Vogue, Bazaar and W and rejoiced in the beauty of runway art.

Trends are just the same, I thought; they are fashion’s agent provocateurs to get us out of our boxes.

We switch “what can I do for trends” to “what can trends do for me?”

Are we staying in the comfortable same old style because we’re scared, because we don’t really want to be seen? I wanted to make a point; midlife women are fab, informed and relevant. We have a wealth of experiences and lots of crazy cool stories to tell. To be convincing means to be “in time,” here and now and not in outfits that say “I don’t care.”

You can’t look like yesterday’s news if you want to influence the world of tomorrow.

DARE YOU…

DARE YOU…

Trends can be tools to test our boundaries and weaknesses, our comfort zones as much as our daring spirit; to “try new things” should not stop at our looks.

Trends are tests of our confidence

1.     We risks new styles and find out if and what they might do for us

2.     We say No do what doesn’t make sense to us and don’t squeeze our butts into shorts if our body shape dislikes them

3.     We hold the outfit in our hand and. seriously, ask “Will you make me happy?”

4.     We ask ourselves what a particular style will say about us and if it is what we really want tell the world about us

Trends are tests of our creativity

1.     We make them ours by adding our own signature

2.     We innovate;

-  mix trendy new outfits with last years

-  add bigger ruffles or big bows to blouses

-   throw tulle and sheer fabrics over last years dresses

-   sequin up old jeans

-   add “real” vintage, which in our time is everything before 2000

-   add handmade outfits from creatives and small designers

-   buy once before loved designer trends at Shop ReBelle

If you can sew, invite your women friends and make new clothes out of the old; everybody will have something cool to contribute and who knows, you might create amazingness

Like this trends become affordable and we step out of blind consumerism.

Letting trends inspire us to our authentic, unique selves makes them empowering; we dress to express who we are not to impress others.

When we ask where our clothes were made and buy from ethical companies we help change the world.

Last; the idea that trends are about designers and not us is sometimes valid but we can see this differently also.

Designers don’t live on clouds; they live in the world, in the same Zeitgeist like us, more, to create fashion lots of detailed research is conducted; underground ideas, life styles, empowerment movements or social media accounts, what we talk about and desire makes the next trend.

Designers manifest what society feels, sometimes what society needs; they are part of our creative expression and we are an integral part of their’s.

I don’t call myself an influencer, yet I started adding pleather, vinyl and vegan materials to my faux fur collection years ago. Now faux is a must. Cool, so I’ve already got some stuff. I also got little suits and oversized blazers and huge sweaters before we “had to have them.” I wore my son’s big shirts for photo shoots two years ago… We anticipate what’s “in” or coming.

Let’s make OUR trends while playing with popular trends. What is our MORE? What is our desire to embody? Isn’t a true “influencer” the intuitive who co-creates trends?

In my next blogs I’ll talk about trends that I find inspiring, how I modify them and what they could possibly mean to you.

 

When you’re over 60 expressing your inner Barbie is a revolution.

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“Look at us.” Barbara pointed under the table of the Valentine’s hearts adorned Pasadena cafe, where our sneakers said it all; comfy, comfy… trendy. Mine were the trendy, semi-comfy ones.

My two women friends had, independent from each other, decided on casual shoes and loose fitting plaid shirts. My first thought was “perfect photo shoot.” Me in shiny Barbie pink between two “country” girls. So cool.

We laughed and went for it.

“You find this funny?” snapped my inner critic. I was “different”, played the rebel card again. What is my intention here; the old “look at me” or the new “If I can play, you can too…” ?

Why don’t I have a plaid blouse? I want to be relatable.

I did not see any judgment in the eyes of my friends, more I felt their permission to be who I am and right now my truth has something to do with Barbie. I did not judge myself as over dressed, too pink, too silly. I was okay. They got me.

It’s not easy being a rebel, its a dance between doubts and daring fun. Most of what I do is headed “women empowerement” so why the heck did I step into Barbie’s image at this time of my life? The doll of the 50’s was cursed to create girl’s eating disorders and self esteem issues.

I had been called a Barbie doll, seen as "an attractive but empty-headed young woman, especially one perceived as a willing sex object." I had no clue what a patriarchal mindset was and the words “sex object” were’nt in my vocabulary. I happily counted my whistling admirers and teased with my flirting power while as a good Catholic girl stayed a virgin until 18. I loved being a disco girl or be admired on runways. But incoherence piled up. I began to feel caged in.

My finally furious refusal to submit to society’s requests of what a woman should be became my first successful rebellion.

No, Barbie!!

I turned my back on my “Ken” and went to college. Into jeans and tee shirts.

But Barbie the super pretty, skinny but curvy, super fashionable idol never really left; she critiqued, demanded, made me feel insecure and mirror obsessed. But my inner Barbie also inspired my to creative fashion choices and made me feel powerful in high heels on building sites I was the boss of. It’s not easy hanging with Barbie, its a dance between demands and daring fun…

She turned into sleeping beauty in the 90’s when I became a mom.

A few months ago she looked back at me in the mirror. Barbie? What are you doing here?

I had been experimenting with many different styles and how they made me feel for the last year; my practical research into my field of “fashion therapy.” Slowly the color pink had snug into my Ageless Rebellion IG gallery and I had been anti-pink for many years.

If you want to be a Godess you have to be a warrior first
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Pink made me think. Was this a sign that I had done enough rebelling? Was it time to be all I am, a Goddess? Or in my case, the queen of my middle name, Regina, given to me like a foreshadowing road map by my parents? I felt ready to own my truth.

To make a point of being READY I had changed my Ageless Rebel concept to ReBelle, from the NO of fighting against limitations to the Yes of owning my truth. Re Belle; liberating our unique beauty.

The Universe always listens to my “big” statements and answers in her weird encoded ways.

She sent Barbara Holmes, who goes by the name of Barbie, the real life blonde, fantastic midlife woman reinventing herself as a life style model and writer, short after ReBelle was born in May 2018.

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Barbie on the right and me, the newly crowned ReBelle came up with the concept of “ReBelle Barbie” for a YouTube show about true beauty and how we deal with sexy, sweet, exuberant and giggly energies at midlife: what are our terms versus the ones of society?

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What once was a rebellion against my inner “silly” blonde evolved into liberating the playful feminine; my true inner beauty does not revolt against Disney’s Belle, she’s takes what she wants from her.

“On the road to being a Queen you needed to be a warrior first,” confirmed the Universe, “now you need Barbie for your next chapter.”

My mom had been Barbie in all her negative connotations and a bit of a Stepford wife. As a kid I hated her demeanor. Now I felt deep sadness looking at the helplessness of my parent’s generation.

That’s my bigger picture; to discover if and where we are still caged in outmoded beliefs. Sorting out our inner role models and choosing what resonates with our true uniqueness turns playing with Barbie into a journey.

Consciously chosen outfits aren’t the final answer but part of our change; they are like flags displaying mantras of what women want. Outfits are messengers of our truth and confidence.

Badass woman power is a different story for each of us. A pink jumpsuit is a dare for me.

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Mattel’s Barbie has evolved through women empowerment slogans and new body shapes (see below).

My pink jumpsuit girl reflects the doll society wanted me to be but now she has pushed up her sleeves against a past in which women were diminished for centuries and a present in which ageism rules.

And then I got it.

When you’re over 60, expressing your inner Barbie is a revolution.

For me - because I follow my outfit bliss not counting how many years I have collected and that my skin isn’t fresh like apples picked from daddy’s garden. Got crepey skin? So what? The “sheer” trend offers amazing long sleeve shirts to wear under any cute crop top and body suits are “le dernier cri” again - which reminds me of Jane Fonda and that I also do Barbarella. Feeling sexy with sixty? Damn right.

For society - because ageism wants us sexless; in uni sex sweats and on walkers.

When you’re over 60 even high heels are a rebellion.

I am not a very sexual person (and yes I take the missing hormones, more about that another time) but I love the fun of sexy looks and the deeper going enjoyment of sensual softness. No unisex for me.

Revelations via my “old fashioned” inner blonde Barbie so far

  • Silly is freedom

  • Eff it, I’m blonde forever

  • Innocent play with outfits is like meditation

  • Outfits talk, they’ve got messages for us

  • Finding our truth goes through experiencing our options

  • “Look at me” is a dare that empowers when we take risks

  • Every dare opens a new door

  • Ask me, because I am a woman and wise as a whip

  • Playing dress up can be the best empowerment tool

  • How we style our bodies is our art and true art always opens eyes and inspires

  • I shall treasure my body

  • I don’t want Ken but an empowered king would be okay

  • I love being the “girl” in the adventure of midlife power

I don’t know how long Barbie will be with me or if and what she has planned. Right now she rattles my norms. “The sixty year old Barbie…” is a test of my confidence and of how far I can go; in life, love and relationships. How real and how open am I? What does “sexy” mean to me, to you? How do we deal with ageism on a daily basis?

“You can’t possibly wear SHORTS!!?”, a woman friend snapped at me recently. Intimidated I returned the outfit; when we are on a new path, old fears shows their claws. I’m afraid to be “too much.” But midlife women are not demure anymore; together we ReBelle our inner Barbies.

“Girls just want to have fun” is so Barbie and was always foreign to me; to let go and be in the moment can be life changing though. Barbara, Loretta and Pat are joining me on a fun story telling outfit adventure. Check back for the amazing mutual inspiration.

Midlife women who play together empower each other.

“Okay, we’re done. Let’s go, Barbie…” I said with a sigh as the blog is finally finished.

“Do you have cowgirl boots?” my inner Barbie responds.

“Yes, I’ve got three pairs from my time in Santa Fe…”

“They will look so cute with your new plaid shirt.“

Life is a discovery of our truth and fiercely living it no matter if we need Xena, the warrior princess, the witches of Eastwick or a plaid-adorned cowgirl on the way.

Maybe you’ll see me two-stepping soon….

Deb on the right, a  health professional  is the first girl who went on an outfit adventure with her super cute flowery biker jacket she got from  Shop Rebelle . Her first stop was “It’s a wonderful life.” I took a picture before I mailed it; the  Blank NYC  jacket brought up my warrior princess.

Deb on the right, a health professional is the first girl who went on an outfit adventure with her super cute flowery biker jacket she got from Shop Rebelle. Her first stop was “It’s a wonderful life.” I took a picture before I mailed it; the Blank NYC jacket brought up my warrior princess.

Quick info to Barbie’s extensive story

Sheela Goh, wordsmith, stylist, designer and forever fierce, commented on my related IG post, “Hey, Barbie can be a kickass rebel too.”

Barbie started her life with saying “Math is hard” and “Don’t ask me, I’m just a girl.”

In 1984 Barbie was sold with the slogan "We girls can do anything". "Day-to-Night" Barbie came with a briefcase, calculator, newspaper and business card. Mattel also released "She-Ra, Princess of Power", promoted with "The fate of the world is in the hands of one beautiful girl".

When sales of quirky dolls like ‘Bratz’ increased in 2001 and threatened sales of Barbie, women empowerment slogans were needed, punk up pretty Barbie!

Mattel started by literally ‘breaking the mould’ and widening the standard waist of Barbie to be more like an average female. Three new body types and seven new skin tones were introduced to reflect that “real” girls come in all shapes and sizes. Finally, big changes to their marketing campaign – a campaign focused on making girls believe they can be anything they want to be – You Can Be Anything campaign.

But as Jill Lepore says in a rather interesting New Yorker article about Barbie being a copy of the first born German Lilli, then fighting Bratz, her younger competition, “…corporations still own the imaginations of little girls.”

Our stories will take over.


Outfits talk

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“Nobody is dressed up! that’s so LA,” my friend Ruth texted while I was parking my car at 1:59 pm at the Marciano Art Foundations parking lot. I was in a hurry as our reservation was at 2. As I had to book this three months ago to get in I didn’t want to miss it. My delay had been caused by an outfit I could not make work; it was so unexpected that it threw me off. Unsuccessful for the first time on my styling journey I stubbornly tried various options until I finally gave up and jumped into my 40’s style suspender pants. This only took two tops and two necklace try outs… done. I patted the grumpy dog, who hates to be alone at home and rushed out of my apartment, which looked like a tornado went through my wardrobe…

Nobody is dressed up? She was right, I rolled my eyes just slightly at the baggy jeans and tees, yoga pants and other fashion foes, walking through the unadorned visitors waiting for the important doors to amazing design to open. Focus on happy; the next ticket availability was only in February and we were part of the chosen crowd today, arty or not.

My chic femme friend sat texting on a concrete bench. “I love your jacket,” I said. It was a ladylike Chanel type design but with rocky studs and combined with black pencil pants it elegantly touched her with a fierce ReBelle vibe. “You look fantastic,” she answered with a smirk of disbelief and adoration after having been bombarded with my texts of my oh so gruesome styling disaster with this other thing….

“Let’s go in before we miss it…”

The guard girl at the door gave us a run down of what not to do. Between us we probably visited a thousand art galleries, museums and other high profile places worldwide in many decades of our adventurous lives. Do we look like teenie boppers to you?

The banal rules spoken from a high horse of millennial superiority was - and we tried to be nice and forgiving grown ups here - strange. “It’s okay, we know the drill,” we said smiling.

“I am just doing my job,” she answered defensively. There must have been something in our tone that didn’t sound too pleased.

But good to hear that photos were encouraged, just no flash. Cool.

We went into the design-void, low budget university type cafeteria. My friend ordered a fruit filled crumble cake which crumbled into pieces before landing on the plate, twice. We accepted attempt number two. “Maybe that’s why its called crumble cake?” tried the pale cookie attendant.

We sat down on a bench and tried the oatmeal covered pieces. The oatmeal was a bit dry…

“You have to come with me!” snarled a voice. I looked up at a physically mighty man in a security guard uniform.

“What? What did I do?”

A strange CIA vibe splattered all over me when he continued that I had parked my car in a wrong place. I trotted behind him like in into an interrogation room. I thought of hand cuffs. Did he just say “move”?

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They gave my Mini a parking place in the furthest corner “by the wall.” Images of the Berlin wall or the infamous attempt to wall the Mexican border came up when I was passing a hundred empty parking places closer to the entrance. Walls are controversial. I was pushed against the wall. You’re such a drama queen, my inner voice said with a giggle. This is not a punishment just a coincidence.

Inside the Marciano art foundation, a huge concrete bunker with elevator doors showing emblems of the former Masonic temple, we experienced a brief moment of Awe looking at AI Wei Wei’s displays of dissident sarcasm, at least that’s how we interpreted a million pistachio shells covering something like 20 square yards, a big space for sure. The rough gray walls stretched up to cathedral heights, fascinating in their nearly threatening massiveness. I would have easily believed that this had been a prison before, surely not a temple.

“Don’t come closer.”

A guard stepped in our way.

“Don’t you see, there’s a line.”

There was a line under my foot. Was it part of the installation? Were these real nuts? They were pretty big for real nuts.

“You’re not supposed to step on it.” On the line OR the pistachios!! Aha. A protecting-the-art line. Another guard came over to assist the first explaining to us punks that we are looking at art here. Not real pistachios but hand made porcelain pieces, which did not even matter, what mattered was that nothing was to be stepped on here. Or touched or breathed at. Not the line, not the fake nuts. Ai Wei Wei lives far away in Berlin I had read, what would he say to this?

Okay. We keep our distance.

The next floor covering installation looked like big pasta pieces turned to stone, but my $1,200 glasses had let me down; these were a million chopped off tea pot spouts. What happened to the million of ruined teapots? I thought. “What a waste,” I said to Ruth.

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The mythological bamboo and paper kite creatures illustrating epic tales and popular legends dating back to Chinese antiquity at the end of the hall were truly fantastic; I’d hang that snake into my future castle probably in France any time. The flexible bamboo structures and their skin of light weight silk had a dance like feel to them, juxtaposing the heaviness of this art bunker.

To go down the stairs to read about the pieces we had to get in line. 20-30 minutes wait. We just looked at each other. No. Thanks. We were rather content behind the railing looking up and down at the art and at the visitors standing on the lower level motionless like cursed salt statues staring at walls with words. Walls again.

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It slowly dawned on us; perhaps we were not used to this, perhaps we had never before experienced so many Millennials playing art guards with stern faces. Did you see the movie Equilibrium?

Talking about foreshadowing of dystopia; we were in the the elevator with Zoe Saldana, one of my favorite SciFi heroines. “The next exhibition is on the third floor," said her husband, artist Marco Perego with his sexy Italian accent and pushed number 3 of the elevator panel. We decided to be curious enough to also test level 2. I pushed number 2.

The floor looked rather empty, so I asked the guard girl if there was something to look at here. She pointed to the end of the hall, “If you want to adore the staircase.” Wait, did that even make sense? Was she sarcastic? Bitter? Out of her mind after standing guard for hours wishing to be home with her cat instead of pointing stupid visitors to the entrance of the installation? What was it with everybody’s snappiness?

The exhibition here was small compared to level 1 but touched by magic, I even felt sorcery around the round candle plastered table en-wrapped by gorgeous music. To find its source we entered the next room, where it snowed white paper confetti. A beautiful cartoon girl projected on the wall played a black baby grand. This was a perfect picture opp and pictures were encouraged, how wonderful. I love the informal act of sitting in front of art pieces, humbly on the floor. So I did.

“You are not allowed to sit on the confetti.”

“The confetti everybody steps on?”

Ruth nearly dropped my phone therewith creating this wonderful art piece.

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I laughed. I got up.

Okay.

I’ll take a picture standing. We are flexible.

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“You are not allowed to put your handbag on the floor.”

I was already in my place and so the picture was taken while the handbag was waiting on the confetti thousands of people had stepped on with shoes that had just come from streets where LA people often spit on the ground for reasons I’ll never get. Add dogs, buds, trash and other street ick and billions of bacteria and viruses populating the ground make you sick just thinking of them. But my handbag was not allowed? Don’t argue, said a mothering voice within. My bag back over my shoulder I asked Ruth if she had had one of those wet Kleenex.

We left the room and its melancholy of longing sounds with smiling sighs.

“I am just doing my job,” said the guard girl at the door.

We continued to be reprimanded before we even did anything out of the unusual norms of this place. They saw us coming like a red alert and, just as a precaution, stepped in our way.

My friend, a well behaved elegant woman with a lot of grown up patience started to make sarcastic remarks, after she had been told not to touch the railing of the balcony we were breathing semi fresh air on. I had just pointed to my car below us squeezed into the utmost corner and parked in by now.... My friend responded to the guard that she did not see her point, that she had stood on countless balconies before.

The guard whispered on the side, “we had visitors complain before…”

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And then there was the fashionista’s play ground.

Level 3 evoked my respectfully exited Wow! when the amazing colorful mirror wall presented itself, a playground for Goddesses and fashion geeks. I love mirrors and these were even colored and framed like windows to look out at your self. I often feel that art becomes truly artful through our interactions. The intention of many artists are to evoke feelings, thoughts, to disrupt or enlighten, to provoke reactions and even action. When you come out of any show, art, movies, theater and want to change your life that’s mission accomplished to me.

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Our interactive pictures with the installation became art in my eyes.

We were nearly through but there was another one, the psychedelic goal of an archer perhaps. “This gives me vertigo,” said Ruth and wanted to turn away when something in me asked me to dive into the dizzy making imagery; my inner little devil, the rebellious agent provocateur knew what she wanted.
So we took my picture in front of the dizzying piece. That’s what we thought anyway.

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It tuned out to be a little video where a male voice says,

“Your hair touched the art work.”

I looked behind me, I was a step away, how could it have touched?

“No, it didn’t,” I answered.

The entitled young man’s voice vibrated with disdain, how was it possible that I did not obey? That I continued with my video and - talked back?

He insisted. Yes, it did. I insisted back. No, it’s physically impossible.

My friend and I walked away. We have to go now…

He followed us shouting how rude we were. We were rude? We are the guests here.

“You are rude,” I countered.

My hands trembled. Where was the darn exit??? His anger felt like entrapment.

“I have to work here for minimum wage,” he whined aggressively. Was this our fault? What did he see in us? Rich, entitled chicks who usually hang at Saks? I rather dwell in the 5th dimension…

“Rude, rude, rude…” it echoed behind me.

I hate being “sentenced” for something I didn’t do, to be called guilty without proof, to have to defend myself against judgments that seem irrevocable.

So I flicked him off.

He came running up to me, out of his mind and came so close that my heart stopped for a second. The little man in his big shoes frightened me. Where was the freaking exit?

We were relieved when we, the trouble makers, were ushered out. He was still shouting. One of the other guards who were “not supposed to give out names” whispered “His name is ….” Nice to see somebody on our side. I have the name, the power to complain about the angry boy. Should I?

I have never been this glad to leave an art exhibition or it was unfortunately bad art.

I could have just laughed it off right at the beginning. The piece was like a hallucination, I could have just let him have his. I am a confident midlife-wise woman. But my adult self had made room for my inner child and she wanted revenge for the helplessness she had felt being falsely accused many times not to talk about ancient memories of witch hunts.

We both threw teenage tantrums triggering each other like in a therapist’s bible.

I had caused a scene by saying NO.

I acted silly, but do I regret it? NO.

What I learned is that my wounds exist. That my anger needs a creative outlet and my despair still needs bandages of love and forgiveness.

I had been tripped.

My New Year’s mantra was I am ready (even if I’m not)

I am ready to feel all of me, greatness and darkness. I was ready to be raw and real in front of my woman friend. Who did not judge me. Who did not abandon me. She stayed right there. And I know she dislikes tantrums. She felt that this wasn’t necessary but that it was “okay.”

A friend on IG posted as one of her New Year’s goals to “avoid drama.”

As long as we’re not Zen gurus, I responded, there always will be drama. It’s what we do with it that counts because when it happens, there always is a message; avoiding challenges and confrontations is au contraire to our path to self awareness.

After I posted the mirror images my friend Patrice said; they are “windows to our soul.” On the art floor surrounded by mirrors the boy was a message that women need the courage to say NO without fearing to be burnt at the stake and more, that we need to know we are supported by our empowered community.

Another woman friend commented that we looked rebellious.

My rebel suspender pants of the 40’s, Ruth’s “Chanel with an attitude” outfit and our heels exuded confidence. Our mannerism was that of queens not princesses. We walked and laughed and talked with the power of midlife goddesses. That’s an affront to male authority, an attack of rules set in stone outmoded or not. Women behave a certain way, they are modest, lady-like and quiet. They are always polite and heaven forbid “they give you the finger.” Especially not when you could be their grandma. Cause boys will be boys, they are naturally rambunctious. You have to be nice to the boy ‘cause girls are born nice and grandmas? They pat their grandson’s heads with an understanding chuckle after they just cut a girls braids off…

Looking back I think the guards were afraid of us. Looking at the pictures I see their eyes watching us afraid of the not so concealed weapon of woman power.

We were judged by our cover.

Outfits communicate. Outfits talk and sometimes they’re loud.

Outside I asked the parking attendant to move the other cars so that I could exit. I joked being in the furthest corner; “It surely wasn’t a punishment just a coincidence.” He looked me up and down and grinned.

“You are a bad girl.”

Next time when you wear fierce fashion with all your heart and wear your soul on your sleeves you may also want to carry a warrioress’ shield.

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